Survivor Algebra How to Start the Year with SUCCESS!

Attitude is EVERYTHING! 

Learning math (and anything else) is presentation and attitude...  The right presentation (by YOU) can change a student's attitude...  Then, the learning begins!

Learning how to motivate my students and, almost more importantly, training them to have positive attitudes has been a big key to my Survivor Algebra success.  It's made me a much happier teacher too! 

There are two books you really need to read:

Bringing Out the Best in People:  How to Enjoy Helping Others Excel
and The Power of Optimism -- both by Alan Loy McGinnis

These books will guide you through all the details to convert yourself into a champion motivator.  I have seen a huge change in my students -- and in me since I've read them.

I really view myself more as a motivational speaker now, than as a math teacher.  I used to have a very typical success rate for a community college math teacher -- a very sad 40%.  Yes, that's typical... and it's also completely unacceptable!  Since I made these changes, I've enjoyed a very steady 75-80% success rate...  for years!  My students have worked very hard to earn that success...  I've just encouraged them to do so.

Before I made the change, on the first day of school, I'd always go through my class syllabus (which is just a bunch of rules about homework and absences) - blah blah blah...   And, then, I'd give a 30 minute dissertation on the perils of cheating.  In short, I was starting the semester by talking about a bunch of negative things.  Start out negative... and stay negative!

Now, I don't talk about either of these things.  Instead, I start the semester on a very positive note -- I give a speech on success!  Check out the next two sections for details.

(I put the syllabus online and just tell them to go read it themselves.  I have a brief discussion about cheating the day before the first challenge.)